Private collection, Sydney
This is a wonderful example of Lionel Bawden’s sculpture at an early height - a large, fully formed Monster of Apocryphal Geographies in the round, from the artist’s acclaimed 2004 series. The showing of Lionel Bawden’s Monsters stands amongst the important events on the art calendar for the year in 2004; the work from this series is widely regarded as amongst the most ambitious in theme and the most expressive in form in the artist's metier, the Staedtler pencil.
Its undulating masses took shape in the artist’s mind, inspired by the cult sci-fi novel Solaris, by Polish author Stainislaw Lem.
'In this book, Bawden encountered a ‘thinking ocean’ upon planet Solaris which, through the complex motion of its surface, gives rise to monstrous independent creations called Extensors. Stretching for miles between membranous walls swollen with ossified growths it’s capability to ‘think’ creates canyon sized formations, triggering unconscious memories in those who examine its behaviour.'
(Claire Lewis, 2004 catalogue essay, GrantPirrie)
This work is an incredible testament to the deep consideration and honing of practice associated with Bawden’s sculpture, to the point where his materials have recognizably taken to life as a pure extension of idea and self: Bawden’s work has repeatedly been explained as extraordinary, experiential thoughts brought forth by his fingers.
'The Monsters are unique in that they offer no conclusions as to their ultimate form; oscillating between landscape, the figure and still-life, depending on the vantage point from which one observes them.'
(C. Lewis, ibid.)